Jun 282018
  • Restaurateurs, the closed-on-Monday irritation is getting out of hand. I eat out during the week a lot, and Monday is as likely a day as any other. If you’re going to close for a day, how about Sunday? You know, like a normal business? Like just about the entire world when I was a child?
  • Maria McKee recently tweeted that she will have a new album out soon. I look forward to a new Maria McKee record more than any other.
  • Got a killer coupon code the other day for a favorite online merchant. Ordered three polos to get over the free shipping threshold—but in XL, not XXL. Either I’m serious or I’m not, right? Go hard or go home, right? Check in with me on those polos this spring.
  • Another lovely mind has fallen silent, as Harlan Ellison has died at 84. RIP.
  • Part of me is looking forward to football, but the feeling is so subdued. I think it’s going to be an interesting season for me.
  • Amazon is coming out with a $50 dock that, more or less, turns a Fire HD10 tablet into an Echo Show. I use my Fire HD10 every day and I think it’s one of the best tech deals around, but having it behave like this doesn’t turn me on at all. But then, I never wanted an Echo Show. I still like my original, early-adopter Echo just fine.
  • I have two Facebook friends who are dead. What’s your practice on that? Unfriend, or no? I immediately delete people who die from contacts on my phone, because I won’t be getting in touch with them, and that’s what contacts on your phone are for. Is FB different?
 Posted by at 3:47 pm
Jun 272018

I wear polo shirts most days. They work with slacks, jeans, or shorts. They’re comfortable, inexpensive, and easy to care for. If you’re going to run a go-to men’s fashion play over and over, the polo is about as good as it gets.

It seems Gentlemen’s Quarterly agrees:

“…we urge you to take a closer look at the T-shirt’s more sturdy, well-dressed cousin: the polo. When done right, it’s the most casual way of looking put together.”

But then, later in the same article, we find:

“…do not wear them with an undershirt. They’re meant to be casual. They’re meant to project the notion that you may or may not be on a boat in the next few hours.”

Hey, GQ? Out here in actual America, lots of people are fat. And even people who aren’t fat take up a little more room than the dainty little tykes found in your pages. And guess what else? Real people sweat. Some real people sweat a lot. An undershirt keeps a polo looking good, preventing both short-term and long-term perspiration stains. It is an eminently pragmatic solution that solves real problems. Declaring it unfashionable is arbitrary and asinine.

(GQ‘s advice for this is yes, you should be concerned about spots on your shirt, so be sure to wear deodorant that doesn’t contain aluminum. Oh, very helpful. Let me know how that goes, all you people who sweat only under your arms.)

To be sure, there are a few guidelines that I believe are prudent to observe. Though a fleeting glimpse of an undershirt is sometimes unavoidable, it should be prevented to as practical an extent as possible. An undershirt should fit fairly closely, and should never have longer sleeves than the shirt worn over it. Also, I prefer a V neckline to minimize exposure around the collar and placket. Finally, always choose a high-quality cotton-heavy fabric or synthetic blend specifically engineered for coolness. This will “magically” add warmth in the winter, but will not contribute to overheating in the summer.

Bluntly, it’s silly to insinuate that an undershirt with a polo is uncool. A suggestion of using non-aluminum deodorant instead is daft and unrealistic. Choose a good undershirt and wear it. It’s cool. I promise. Know how I know? Because I do it.

And I’m very cool.

 Posted by at 4:13 pm
Jun 252018

When I was a tot, it was pretty common to see a sign at stores and restaurants that said something like


(Sometimes it added FOR ANY REASON, in case you missed the point.)

You don’t see those signs so much anymore. Really, this ship has been in the process of sailing for some time. Many of us think it’s fine to compel bakeries to make gay wedding cakes and what-not.

So what to make of this weekend’s kerfuffle over White House press secretary Sarah Sanders being asked to leave a Virginia restaurant because of her association with the Trump administration?

I am of two minds on this. The libertarian in me believes that with few exceptions, it’s wrong to legally force a merchant to do business, so I don’t have an issue with Sanders being asked to leave a restaurant (or a bakery refusing to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, for that matter). I think these decisions are properly market forces, and nothing more.

But I’m also sick to death of absolutely everything being politicized—not to mention that this sort of ideological “purity” in business is quite impossible. Do you own any mutual funds? Well, you’re already done, Skippy. There’s no way you’re not “supporting” something you don’t want to be in there, so just calm your hysterical shrieking about Chick-fil-A and whatever else too.

You don’t have to be Professor Positive blowing sunshine up everyone’s butt, but you also don’t have to make a ceaseless quest for division one of the primary ways you interface with the world. Far too many of us have decided that such is acceptable, and even noble. Quoting the great David French:

Red Hen has a right to refuse service.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders has a right to complain.

Potential customers have a right to make their own decisions.

I have a right to try to persuade people to stop politicizing everything.

Freedom is easy to figure out-hard to execute.


Have a good week.

 Posted by at 9:48 am
Jun 222018
  • …early Chicago. I mean the musical group, not the midwestern metropolis. The soulfully delivered and contemplative lyrics layered with that glorious soundscape of horns, and unified into a whole with truly timeless production, comprise one of the finest popular music experiences of all time.
  • …the lapping waves at the sea’s edge. One of my earliest beach memories is of planting my feet and letting the water wash over them. I love the slight tickle of sand being pulled from under my feet as the water recedes. I still make it a point to do that, and consider it meditatively, at least once on every beach trip. Sometimes I stand there long enough for the action to bury my feet completely. I feel God there as profoundly as I ever feel Him anywhere.
  • …that first pull on a fresh cigarette in a relaxed environment. The mechanics of the smoke, the drug hitting your brain…aaaahhhh. Though it’s been seven years since I experienced this one, I still get the memory back quite viscerally when someone is smoking a suitable distance away. The relaxed environment is important. Smoking just for substance maintenance, such as a quick one at work, isn’t nearly the same thing. I told Lea that if I make it to 80, I’m starting back. Perhaps I will feel differently should that day come.
 Posted by at 6:54 pm
Jun 212018
  • If you didn’t see Chris Pratt’s amazing acceptance speech at this year’s MTV Movie Awards, go watch it right now.
  • The current emphasis on eyebrows in women’s fashion is unfortunate. There are definitely degrees of beauty in them, but I also think that when they’re done well, they call no particular attention to themselves, instead serving as components of the harmonious whole. In my experience, something that makes me specifically think “look at her eyebrows” is almost always a mistake.
  • During some ongoing decluttering, my sister found what look to be street artist caricatures of my maternal grandparents. They’re pretty well done, I suppose, but when she didn’t want them and texted me photos of them to ask if I did, I said toss them (with little deliberation). To me those are good examples of “moment in time” items that mean something if you were there, and don’t if you weren’t. And the objective truth is that everyone to whom those drawings could have possibly mattered is dead.
  • I “cheated” on my red meat abstention twice in the past week. I had a beef chimichanga out with friends Saturday night, and then Monday I had some inferno gumbo with sausage in it at Anaheim Chili. Recorded as data for the ongoing excursion. I also chose to drink two margaritas Saturday. Ditto. I enjoyed them, but decided later that I could have easily passed them up. Noted for the next similar circumstance.
  • I’ve watched five episodes of Black Mirror. I’d say they range from A to B-. I’ll finish them. I’m enjoying the respite of an anthology series with self-contained episodes.
  • Road America is this weekend, and Tony Kanaan needs a result. Year before last, he’d have caught Will Power for the win if the race had been one lap longer.
  • Today is the summer solstice. As the longest day of the year, today I always have a brief wistful thought about longer, cooler nights.
 Posted by at 9:47 am
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